Warning: This Headline Contains Irony…Trigger warnings on classic literature are one small step from book banning

Posted: 21 May, 2014 in Book Censorship, US News
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Great Gatsby Wordsworth Classics There’s a discussion that’s been heating up for a while in various corners of the internet, and now at a number of US colleges , about how we take in information, and whether that information should be treated with what essentially constitutes a warning label — so long as it’s likely to impact anyone in an unfavorable way due to their personal background, emotional state and/or life experiences. We call these emotional disclaimers trigger warnings , alerting a consumer that the content within might offend or cause distress.

This is triggering (and therefore requires a trigger warning) is a phrase you might see in the comments section of an online article that addresses racism, rape, war, anorexia or any number of subjects about which a discussion may not leave the reader with a care-free, fuzzy sort of feeling.

It’s a phrase that’s been requested this semester by a number of college students to be applied to classic books — The Great Gatsby (for misogyny and violence), Huck Finn (for racism), Things Fall Apart (for colonialism and religious persecution), Mrs. Dalloway (for suicide), Shakespeare (for … you name it).

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